Capital Region Medical Center provides patients with proper education and resources to manage their diabetes diagnosis. For patients with diabetes, prediabetes, gestational diabetes or their caregivers, Capital Region paves the road for success.
Diabetes can't be cured, but it can be managed.
1. Can I get diabetes from eating too much sugar?
No. Diabetes is a disorder of the pancreas, which produces a substance called insulin, which helps your body use glucose (sugar) for energy. In type 1 diabetes, the pancreas makes no insulin. The reason for this is unknown. Type 2 diabetes (the most common form of the disease) develops when the body can't use insulin efficiently or the pancreas can't make enough insulin to meet the body's needs, or both.
2. If I have diabetes, must I have insulin injections for the rest of my life?
Not necessarily. People with type 1 diabetes do need lifelong insulin treatment. People with type 2 may be able to control the disease with diet and exercise. If these measures aren't enough, diabetes pills may be prescribed. Over time, oral medications may not be enough, and some people with type 2 may need to use insulin to help manage their blood glucose levels.
3. What puts me at risk for developing diabetes?
Doctors aren't sure what causes type 1 diabetes. But they have linked type 2 to being overweight, not getting enough exercise and having a family history of diabetes. In addition, African Americans, Hispanics and American Indians are at higher risk for diabetes than other ethnic groups.
4. If you develop diabetes while you are pregnant, is it only temporary?
Gestational diabetes usually resolves after the end of pregnancy. But women with a history of gestational diabetes have a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life.
5. What are the symptoms of diabetes?
Symptoms of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes may include frequent urination, unusual thirst, feeling very hungry or tired, sores that heal slowly, unexplained weight loss and blurry vision. Symptoms of type 1 can start quickly, in a matter of weeks, while symptoms of type 2 may develop over several years.
6. Can diabetes cause vision loss?
Diabetes contributes to retinopathy, a disease of the retina, the light-sensing nerve layer at the back of the eye. The fragile blood vessels in the eye bleed and can block the retina, causing you to see hazy, darkened images. If left untreated, hemorrhages and scar tissue can pull the retina away from the back of the eye, potentially causing blindness.
7. Does diabetes increase the risk of other medical problems?
Diabetes increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, blindness, kidney disease, nervous system damage and dental disease, according to the American Diabetes Association (ADA).
8. Is diabetes preventable?
Researchers are looking for ways to prevent type 1 diabetes. Exercising regularly and avoiding being overweight may help you avoid type 2 diabetes.
9. Should people with diabetes follow a special diet?
People with diabetes have the same nutrient needs as everyone else. The ADA describes these basic principles of healthy eating:
- Eat plentiful amounts of a variety of fruits and vegetables.
- Choose whole grains (such as brown rice and whole-wheat pasta) over processed grains (such as white rice and white bread).
- Include legumes (such as kidney beans, pinto beans and lentils) in your meals.
- Eat fish two to three times a week.
- Use liquid oils rather than solid fats for cooking.
- Limit high-calorie snack foods and desserts.
- Choose lean meats, nonfat dairy products and calorie-free beverages, such as water.
A registered dietitian can help you plan a healthful diet.
10. Where can I go to learn more?
To learn more about diabetes, visit the Diabetes health topic center. You can also get more information at these websites:
The best way to improve your overall health is through healthy eating, and patients at Capital Region have access to one-on-one nutrition counseling with a dietician. Those with Type I, Type II and Gestational Diabetes may get a referral for outpatient medical nutrition therapy, which is covered by some insurances for disease-specific diagnoses. To schedule, call 573.632.5152.
The Sam B. Cook Healthplex encourages and promotes exercise as a means for improving overall health while reducing the risk of chronic disease. Research shows that physical inactivity contributes to a variety of chronic diseases, including obesity, diabetes and cancer. Through the Exercise as Medicine program, the Sam B. Cook Healthplex provides numerous services to improve your overall health while helping you feel better, have more energy and perhaps even live longer! The relaxed and friendly environment supports any fitness level and allows you to meet your personal wellness goals with expert supervision. Visit the Sam B. Cook Healthplex website to learn more. To join the fitness center, call 573-632-5634.
The Cole County Health Department offers free diabetes education classes. Patients must have Medicaid only or no insurance to qualify for the classes, and they may live outside of Cole County. Call 573.636.2181 to schedule.